Malawi - Country Commercial Guide
Travel and Tourism
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The government identified the tourism sector as a key driver for sustainable economic growth and development.  Malawi Vision 2063, the country’s long term development plan, places tourism as a priority economic sector towards achieving inclusive growth and self-reliance.  Tourism investments are eligible for exemption of various import duty and excise taxes.  Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the tourism sector contributed more than 525,000 jobs, representing close to seven percent of overall employment, and served more than 980,000 international visitors annually.  According to the National Statistics Office, regional travelers make up most of the tourist visitors and the predominant long-haul international travelers are from India, the United States, and Australia.  During the COVID-19 pandemic, international tourist arrivals (overnight visitors) to Malawi plunged by 80 percent due to widespread travel restrictions and a massive drop in demand, but the situation has improved and is expected to increase further in 2023.  

Potential investors in the tourism sector face significant challenges regarding land tenure and reliable data on tourism trends.  The government implemented the National Tourism Policy of 2019 to address these challenges and create an enabling environment for development and promotion of the sector.  In the medium term, the government intends to establish a semi-autonomous tourism authority aimed at improving efficiency in the tourism and travel sector.  With support from development partners, Malawi embarked on a tourism data gathering effort to help investors and the government make informed decisions.

Leading Sub-Sectors

Malawi hosts nature-based and cultural heritage tourism.  The prime attractions are Lake Malawi, the third largest freshwater lake in Africa; wildlife in numerous national parks, wildlife reserves, and forest reserves; mountains and scenery; and cultural and historical attractions.  


The tourism and travel sector in Malawi is growing.  Investment opportunities exist in eco-tourism, hospitality, water and lake sports, wilderness safaris, and tours that showcase Malawi’s natural treasures.  Malawi hosts the annual Takulandirani Malawi International Tourism Expo (MITE) to provide local and international tourism enterprises an opportunity to exhibit their products and services.  Successful enterprises will need to differentiate between tourism opportunities in Malawi and that of its neighboring countries.